There are very small quantities of Co-60 in the environment from nuclear facilities. Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations allow discharge of percentages of Co-60 from licensed facilities. Cobalt-60 is used as a radiation resource in many common commercial applications, such as in leveling tools and thickness determines. Unintentional exposures may occur as the outcome of loss or inappropriate disposal of industrial and medical radiation sources. Most exposure to Co-60 takes place deliberately during medical tests and therapies. Outside exposure to Co-60 can increase cancer risk since it decays by gamma radiation. Cobalt-60 absorbed by the liver, kidneys, or bone tissue can cause cancer from internal exposure to gamma radiation. Messing up of a large industrial source of Co-60 can cause an external exposure large sufficient to cause skin burns, intense radiation sicknessradiation sicknessA major ailment that can happen when a person is exposed to very high degrees of radiation, usually over a short period of time.
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